Get your Gangnam on Canine Krewe brings K-Pop to parade

Thursday, January 17, 2013

You can teach a dog to dance. You can teach some dogs to waltz. There's even a dog named Carrie who salsas and does a mean merenge.

But can you teach a dog to dance Gangnam Style? That's what Rachel and Ryan Brix are asking.

Rachel and Ryan are the new captain and co-captain of the Mystic Krewe of Barkus, a canine version of the Mardi Gras Krewe of Bacchus. Made up of dogs, dog owners and dog lovers, Barkus will be leading the Eureka Gras Mardi Gras parade on Feb.9 , where they'll be stepping out Gangnam style -- or at least moving to the music.

"Ryan taught Emmie to dance, but he's not sure if she can pull off the Gangnam moves," Rachel said, referring to one of their dogs.

"Gangnam," for those who don't know, refers to an affluent, au-courant district of Seoul, Korea, where urbanites, in the words of Korean pop singer/composer Psy, dress classy and dance cheesy. His video, "Gangnam Style," debuted last July, and by December, had become the first YouTube video to get a billion hits. Reminiscent of '60s dances like the Mashed Potato and the Swim, the dance is described as riding an invisible horse -- there's the gallop, hands crossed at the wrist as if holding reins; the lasso, the leg sweep, the chest pop and the pose.

"I wanted to do something fun, something current, and something easy to dress for," Rachel said.

The Gangnam look: a bright-colored tux jacket, bow tie and sunglasses. Variations are a black suit with white tie, or a white tux shirt and bright-colored pants. But dog owners who want to march in the parade can sport the sunglasses and bow tie, then add any Mardi Gras finery they own, Rachel said. People who don't have a dog are also welcome, she said, as extra hands are needed.

"People who like being around dogs, or just need an excuse to do the Gangnam, can come and dance," Rachel said. "We hope spectators will get involved, too."

The Brixes, who are originally from Chicago, moved here last spring from Galena, Mo., and opened their business, Percy's Pet Spa and Grooming, on North Main in August. Less than a month later, Dan Ellis, Eureka Gras organizer, stopped by and ask Rachel if she wanted to be captain of the local Barkus Krewe.

"I had no idea what he was talking about," she said. "I have never been to New Orleans, or marched in a parade."

So she went online, found and discovered that Barkus krewes march in Mardi Gras parades all over the country as well as New Orleans. Some of the themes: Joan of Bark, Jurassic Bark, and Tails and Tiaras. There's also a Barkus online store that sells canine Mardi Gras costumes.

"And I thought I was 'Crazy Dog Lady,'" Rachel said.

Rachel is now recruiting dog owners and dog lovers to to march with Barkus -- drop by Percy's, 188 N. Main, and let her know if you want to join the parade.

"I'm really glad Dan approached us about being involved," she said. "It show how dog-friendly Eureka Springs really is. And it gives people and their pets something fun to do together."

The Eureka Gras Royalty Day Parade is Saturday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. in downtown Eureka Springs. For more information about the Krewe of Barkus, contact Rachel Brix at 479-244-9151 or For Eureka Gras events, go to www.Krazo.Ureeka.Org.

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